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The vocabulary in which military policy is discussed has to do with weaponry. And weaponry has become technologically so sophisticated that it is easy for people of both sexes to feel intimidated when discussing military policy. The area in which the greatest increase in spending has been taking place since 1968 is the area of research and procurement, which is military terminology for the development of new weapons. Weaponry turns out to be not simply the tool of the military but the centerpiece of our military thinking. One of the dynamics fueling the arms race is the ineluctable continuation of weapons technology. So, without a feeling of mastery of weapons or technology, it is difficult for a person not trained in military science or engineering to enter into the specifics of the debate. . . . The unmasking, the explaining, the demystification, the empowerment of other people through our translation of military matters should be a component of any feminist position. We can, as feminists as women and men as feminists begin to do a kind of analysis of military thinking that is perhaps very fresh because we come at it from the outside. . . . As part of that analysis, I’d like to suggest that we focus on weaponry as not only the area of the budget that is increasing at the fastest rate and is the most complicated and hard to Sheila Tobias is co-author of What Kinds of Guns Are They Buying for Your Butter? understand, but because the military is characterized not by its warmongering but by its tendency to think in terms of hardware solutions. . . So the definitions have become very simple-minded. National security is interpreted in terms of weapons capability, and national insecurity is interpreted in terms of weapons vulnerability. . . . [there is] a naive faith in technology . . . a naive faith that with enough money, enough Amer ican technological brainpower, enough manpower we can find weapons solutions that will be lasting and enduring. Another dimension of the thinking that as an outsider and as a feminist I pick up on is a simpleminded view that more is bet ter. . . . Also there is an inability or unwillingness to accept parity the notion that if you’re not superior you must be inferior is simple-minded and characteristic of very primitive thinking. . . The peace people have been charged with bringing emotion and not ratiocination to the issue by thinking with our hearts and not so much with our heads. . . . But when you analyze to its core some of the assumptions on which military decisions are made that are very costly and potentially destabilizing -those issues are very emotional. The attachment to the aircraft carrier can only be described as emotional. . . . In the end it is a question of values that divides us. The people who are for this enormous amount of spending are as attached emotionally to their values as we may be to ours. usually does not just shrink back up. It’s a question of getting people involved on some level that reaches them. And only you in your own community will know what the opening wedge is that will politicize people on arms race issues. Many people have learned that you can’t leave it to those experts because they don’t know that much more than you do. . . . It’s pretty obvious what feminism can bring to the arms race debate. First of all, a very useful process: the work that we have done over the years to develop a process that is inclusive, that is nonheirarchical, and that brings very diverse people together and enables them to work together. That process is important if you’re dealing with a political issue that depends on grassroots political support to bring about change. The feminist movement can bring to the arms-race debate a long-term vision. . . . It’s an important opportunity for us to link up with our sisters around the world and work in unity on an issue that can bring us together and strengthen feminism around the world. Diversity is a strength; it is not a weakness. And in learning how to deal with diversity we learn how to deal with conflict in a feminist and nonmilitaristic way. I would encourage feminists in every community to work on building from that diversity a working community that can really work on arms-race issues not only in Congress and testifying on the budget but in our own communities. In her novel Fault-line, Sheila OrtizTaylor says, “Sanity consists of fear melted down and poured in socially useful shapes.” As feminists we are very adept at taking that fear and turning that into powerful political work. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 15